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Morning Java: 80

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Tuesday column from Heinz Field covers Pitt’s predictably ugly loss to Florida State that, even more unfortunately, came with an all-too-predictable approach.

Here’s our full Pitt coverage, by Jerry DiPaola.

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>> Eighty. Travis Sawchik reports from Milwaukee.

Here’s the rest of our Pirates coverage. Here’s Brewers news from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. And here are official game highlights from MLB.com.

Oh, and let’s clear this up: Eighty-one means nothing. The Pirates clinch nothing with an 81st victory, symbolically or even mathematically. The fact is, a regular season in Major League Baseball can extend to 163 games because those play-ins to break end-of-season ties count toward regular-season standings and even stats.

>> Isaac Redman will start in the Steelers’ backfield, Maurkice Pouncey is a captain, and a new punter named Zoltan has been signed. Just another day!

That and more is in our Steelers coverage. And here’s Titans news from the Tennessean.

>> I’m off today, but back with the Steelers and back on TribLIVE Radio tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

357 Comments

  1. How apropos, a photo of the duguout with Barmes in focus at center. He’s the epitome of Neal’s Misfit Toys who have come together and made this team a winner.

  2. I was unable to post more from the Pitt game due to a bad connection, but most of what I would have said was covered more than ably on the blog by Plan, Eric and friends.
    I know the final score was lopsided, but I still have a lot of optimism about this team.
    So nice to have a real QB
    The secondary was really poor, and the defense took a way too passive approach all around. Need to bring it more.
    Eleven freshmen saw action for Pitt. Blewitt will be an excellent kicker that really needs a name change, but Tyler Boyd, folks, is very, very good.
    Jamies Winston had a whole lot to do with Pitt looking so bad. He was extraordinarily accurate, and for a freshman, his footwork and ball handling were off the charts. The Pitt D didn’t know whether to defecate or go blind. This kid is special, and he has a good team around him
    The Pitt pre game and in-game experience is so much better than the Steeler’s it is startling. The welcome to the ACC stuff was great; Pitt even flew in all of the student body presidents from the ACC for a pre game ceremony that was awesome.
    I sit in the end zone across from the big scoreboard for Pitt and the Steelers. I can look across to that scoreboard and read 17 advertisements on and around the board, but in 10 years they have not found a place for the score or the down and distance unless they flash it up on the screen. Just a pet peeve of mine. It is a scoreboard, isn’t it?
    Better days ahead for this team. Hail to Pitt!

    • On the plagiarism front, I did NOT read DK’s column before I posted. The link wasn’t working, I swear! :)

    • “Jamies Winston had a whole lot to do with Pitt looking so bad. He was extraordinarily accurate, and for a freshman, his footwork and ball handling were off the charts. The Pitt D didn’t know whether to defecate or go blind. This kid is special, and he has a good team around him”

      Oh Lord, this is priceless, Rad Lad LOL

  3. Dejan,

    Your note on the possibility of a 163rd game necessitating an 82nd win to break the Streak is arbitrary. You’re correct that the possibility of a tiebreaker does exist. This year’s NL Central race also raises the very distinct possibility of three-way tie for the division title. In that case, to determine both the winner of the Central, as well as home-field in the play-in game, it is foreseeable that the Pirates would need to play 164 regular-season games. Should the Bucs then be required to win 83 games to secure a non-losing season?

    DK: A game wouldn’t be used to determine home field. Never is. Those go to built-in tiebreakers.

    • Somebody just posted the rules for a three way tie yesterday to determine winner of division and wild card play in home field. I could be wrong but I remember it involving two extra games which makes Matt’s point correct.

      DK: Not here. First built-in tiebreaker is head to head. Pirates already have clinched that vs. Cardinals by winning season series. Can’t play 164 games. Only 163.

      • You’re positive Dejan? I thought a three way tie for the division, for example, would involve two extra games for one of the teams.

        • It does 21 in one very unlikely scenerio. I believe somebody would have to play two games if the Pirates end in a 3-way tie for the 2 wild cards spots. If that would happen the below would

          Three-way tie for two Wild Card spots

          In a situation where there is a three way tie between non division winners and there is no other non division winner with a better record claiming wild card 1; a tiebreaker eliminating 1 of the 3 teams will follow. Based on a group head to head record. Teams A, B and C will be created. Team B will travel to team A. The winner wins wild card one. The loser will go to team C. The winner of that game wins wild card two. After those two games, wild card teams one and two will play each other in the wild card round. Can be an” A/B rematch”. This information was provided by the MLB Commissioners office.

  4. DK – Have watched Obermann’s show a couple of times. Have you been on?

    DK: Not yet. It’s anything but a set schedule.

  5. For anyone who missed the double-play in Milwaukee yesterday, it went Alvarez to Martin to Alvarez to Walker:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_09_02_pitmlb_milmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit#gid=2013_09_02_pitmlb_milmlb_1&mode=video

    Pedro undid the brilliance of that by losing his concentration later in the game, failing to catch an easy relay, and letting in a run. It is so frustrating to watch him play.

  6. Earl Weaver was proven right again – by Neil Walker – that a 3-run homer is far superior to a sac. bunt every time. I love quoting the incorrigible Earl in matters such as this.

    Any kind of bunt!

    • “The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers.”

      Earl Weaver

      • ++ to both Bob and 21.

      • Sorry, I should have said I was making reference to Earl’s statement of wisdom, rather than infer I was quoting him.

        Obviously you captured my drift.

        He also made some indication of his profound dislike for a bunt – I heard it!

        • He hated bunts, that’s for sure Bob. I pretty much hate them as well, although I do see the value of a poor-hitting pitcher needing to advance a runner at a key time. Overall, though, I think since they only give you 27 outs why give them away for one measly base?

    • “If you knew you were gonna hit into a double play, why didn’t you just strike out?”

      “A manager’s job is simple. For one hundred sixty-two games you try not to screw up all that smart stuff your organization did last December.”

      - Earl Weaver

      • When I was at the Bucs game on Friday, and Liriano hit into a DP, my brother texted me from CT where he was watching on MLB Network. He actually said that Liriano should have just taken 3 strikes rather than swing the bat. He, of course, had just hit into an inning ending DP with the bases loaded.

      • Hmmmm, I wonder if our old friend CH ever muttered anything so intellectual, referring to that second pearl of wisdom

  7. With 25 games remaining, the Pirates magic number to eliminate Arizona is 16, to host the wild card is 22 (vs. Reds) and to win the division is 25 (vs. Cardinals). Washington remains a game behind Arizona. To borrow a phrase from college basketball’s playoff selection process, both Arizona and Washington are steadily playing their way off of the bubble.

    • Thanks for the update, Tom :)

    • thanks. this is great to check in on your post with these numbers. Appreciate it.

    • sorry their bubble burst about a month and a half ago. Only “collapse III” protagonists would even have them in the discussion. As it sits now JUST to get to 90 wins, AZ and WA have to go something like 21-5 the rest of the way. That ain’t happening folks, not if you watch or know anything about those teams.

  8. 81 may mean nothing to you Dejan, but it means something to me. An end to 20 straight losing seasons. 80 means something too, a new high water mark.

    DK: The debate at hand was mathematical, not philosophical. Read again, John.

  9. I am sorry to hear Pitt fared so poorly against Florida. But from what Lad says, there is plenty of good to take from the game.

    On the other hand, I was thrilled to see Charlie Morton do so well yesterday. He’s expanding his repertoire, and thanks to Searage, has thrown some change-ups. Read Travis’s link “Eighty” Dejan included above.

    Searage for Prez!

  10. JAL’s September Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ter0p_iyIxk

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dHVOMzdPYm9wUEJtdVJ0WWUzVWhFc2c#gid=0

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Morton, Tabata, and Watson Are Playing Out of Their Minds Right Now

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/09/morton-tabata-and-watson-are-playing-out-of-their-minds-right-now.html

    First Pitch: Pirates About to End the Streak the Way it Was Supposed to Be Ended

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/09/first-pitch-pirates-about-to-end-the-streak-the-way-it-was-supposed-to-be-ended.html

    Prospect Watch: Luis Heredia Wraps Up a Good Season in West Virginia

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/09/prospect-watch-luis-heredia-wraps-up-a-good-season-in-west-virginia.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates win 5-2 (and a rant about the Bucs’ trades)

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/9/2/4687718/pirates-win-5-2-and-a-rant-about-the-bucs-trades

    Grilli fans three, Hague tries to close

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/9/2/4688140/grilli-fans-three-hague-tries-to-close

    6 City of Champions

    Pirates top Brewers to reach 80 wins for first time since 1992

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/09/02/pirates-top-brewers-to-reach-80-wins-for-first-time-in-20-years/

    7 WHYGAVS

    Game 137: Pirates 5 Brewers 2

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2013/game-137-pirates-5-brewers-2.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Clint, JT, The Kid & Charlie Too Much For Brew Crew; Bucs Win 5-2

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/09/clint-jt-kid-charlie-too-much-for-brew.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 5 Brewers 7

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/09/pirates-5-brewers-2-2/

  11. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    10 Minor League Ball

    Prospect of the Day: Andrew Lambo, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2013/9/2/4619448/prospect-of-the-day-andrew-lambo-of-pittsburgh-pirates

    11 USA Today

    Pirates sense the playoff tide turning their way

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/pirates/2013/09/02/pittsburgh-pirates-playoffs-winning-season-nl-central/2756599/

    12 Rant Sports

    Charlie Morton Continues To Exceed Expectations With Pittsburgh

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/09/02/charlie-morton-continues-to-exceed-expectations-with-pittsburgh-pirates/

    13 New Pittsburgh Courier

    Times have changed since Pirates’ ‘Streak’ started

    http://www.newpittsburghcourieronline.com/index.php/sports/16818-times-have-changed-since-pirates-streak-started

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Offense stalls, Leake falters and Reds lose to Rockies 7-4

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130901/SPT04/309010087

    15 Bleacher Report

    Alex Presley: Why the Pittsburgh Pirates Traded Him for Justin Morneau

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1325332-alex-presely-why-pittsburgh-pirates-traded-him-for-justin-morneau

    16 CBS Sports

    Brewers-Pirates Gam Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130902_PIT@MIL

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie Bytes: Looking at Mo’s gamble

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-bytes-looking-at-mo-s-gamble/article_587dcb75-7523-58a3-84f1-410e6fe1960e.html

    Reds’ hex over Wainwright continues

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cardinal-beat/reds-hex-over-wainwright-continues/article_ede72404-9587-583f-9bf1-4bd3ff5e1c76.html

    18 PBC Site

    Once-unlikely heroes give Bucs division lead on Cards

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_09_02_pitmlb_milmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Gomez earns increased role with help from Pimentel

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130902&content_id=59308138&notebook_id=59307782&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    A Closer Look at College Pitch Counts and Injuries

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21700

    20 Fangraphs

    Daily Notes: Feat. Sunday’s Notable Call-Ups

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/daily-notes-feat-sundays-notable-call-ups/

  12. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Meet Zoltan Mesko and Antwon Blake, the Steelers newest roster additions

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/9/2/4687824/steelers-roster-transactions-sign-zoltan-mesko-patriots-antwon-blake-jaguars

    Report: Steelers coaching staff not behind release of Jonathan Dwyer

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/9/2/4685738/steelers-release-jonathan-dwyer-free-agency-running-backs-2013

    22 Steelers Depot

    2013 Steelers Roster Now Includes 19 Players Who Weren’t On Team Last Year

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/09/steelers-roster-turnover-continues/

    Soccer(football)

    23 The Telegraph

    The Robin van Persie effect and the need to keep secrets: what we have learned from the transfer window

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/10282244/The-Robin-van-Persie-effect-and-the-need-to-keep-secrets-what-we-have-learned-from-the-transfer-window.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Vujadin Boskov and the miracle of Sampdoria

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/blogs/vujadin-boskov-and-the-miracle-of-sampdoria

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Prospect Profile – #23 Bryan Rust

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/9/2/4685860/prospect-profile-23-bryan-rust

  13. Ok not to look ahead, but I am looking ahead. Morton becomes my 3rd starter in the NLDS Amazing comeback from the surgery. Agree with Jandy, above…Searage for Prez!
    ____________________________________________________________________
    Didn’t see the Pitt game, but STILL applaud Chryst for some tough off the field moves. Lessons to be learned there for these young men.
    ____________________________________________________________________
    Understand and respect your points, Dejan, but, 81 and 82 DO mean something to this fan.
    have a good day everyone!

  14. Go for it.

    Aim for the jugular.

    There. I’m getting with the program. Telling it like it is. Breaking new ground. Soaring with the iggles.

  15. 81 wins means you also have 81 losses. That’s .500.

    To me, that isn’t a winning season.

    • 81 is not a winning season or a losing season–two different streaks–number of straight losing seasons and number of seasons since a winning season

      DK: 81 CAN be a losing season. See above. Again, this is mathematical, not philosophical.

      • Yes, if there is a tie requiring an extra game. 81 can also be a winning season if there is rainout that does not have to be made up and they finish 81-80.

        DK: No contending teams get away with permanently rained-out dates. Doesn’t apply here.

        • If the Pirates go into a tailspin they might not be contending by season’s end.

          • JAL! Wash your mouth out with soap!!!!!

          • True statement, JAL, but, the Reds and Cards are not gaining much either with all the head to heads going on. Looking at the standings…it appears that the NL Central and AL West are pretty much the only undecided divisions left to settle. Everyone else is pretty far ahead.

            • Yep, Central and AL west only ones that look open. Nats and D-Backs haven’t made a push either so starting to look like the 3 Central teams are playing more for position than making the playoffs.

              • Imagine…the “lowly” NL Central for so many years and now three teams in a barnburner of a race. How cool is that?

              • It seems to me that the NL Central has “figured it out” TJA. You are correct that we are always called the lowly NL Central, but I think these teams are poised to be the best or next best division in baseball the next few years.

              • Only bad thing JAL is with the Cards, Reds, and Pirates beating up on each other, the Dodgers and Braves have pulled ahead with better overall records. NL Central winner would be going to LA for first two games as it stands right now with the WC going to Atlanta. Trust me I’ll still be way more than happy with winning the division, but a month or so ago the 3 Central teams were 1-2-3 in the NL now are 3-4-5 which I guess was bound to happen.

                The Dbacks and Nats are the only two teams that are in “all-in” mode in the East or West outside the division leaders.

                Really hoping the Bucs can take one of these last two in MKE and do what they need to do with the 11 games left against the Cubs and SD. I feel like they need to go 9-4 in those 13 to be in position to win division.

          • DK is not technically wrong, but if the Pirates only win 1 more game the rest of the season, I will bet that either the Dbacks or Nats would pass them for the 2nd wild card and you would not have a playoff game; therefore, 81 means something.

            However, my point has not become reality yet so there is a chance that 81 could mean a losing season, but I believe it is more unlikely than the Pirates not making 82 or more. And that is saying a lot.

        • No reason to banter about this fellows. They’re gonna win over 90, so this point will be moot in few days.

          Abosolute lock.

        • You too, Dejan, wash your mouth out with soap, no Starbucks for YOU!

        • They do if the game ends up meaningless. If you are more than a half game up on any given situation then it could go unplayed I believe. Of course 81-80 would not likely be a scenario where you are contending for much of anything either. So if you are 81-80 and the last game is rained out, you likely don’t play it…except that game in this case would be with the also contending Reds. but if the Reds are more than half a game behind St. Louis and more than a half game up on the second wild card, they probably would not make them play the game.

    • I know what you are saying TC, but, look where this team was 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,….20 years ago. I want baseball in Pittsburgh in LATE October, like everyone else. I just think that this is the start (and something for at least the fans to celebrate) to get over the long embarrassing nightmare.

    • So, that means NOTHING at this point? We won’t win ONE more and break the streak?

    • I feel about this controversy (81, 82, 83 etc) like I do about excessive end zone celebrations. Despite the fact that it has been so long, let’s act like we’ve been there before (WE HAVE)

      Stuart

      • Eh…no way I’m not celebrating and being happy n’at.
        :D

      • maybe we can fly Johnny Manziel to Milwaukee to run around and do 81 win celebration dances around the infield …and then hoping that Juan Francisco (who looks more like a football player anyway) tackles the punk and buries him in the pitchers mound.

  16. On Pitt, was energized by the opening drive and the fact they hung with FSU for awhile, but was very disappointed with the lack of adjustments to going with what was working on offense and away from what wasn’t working on defense.

    After FSU finally realized that Street was indeed a kid they needed to cover — despite the pre-game lack of respect rhetoric by one member of the FSU secondary — FSU then blanketed him with two or three defensive backs the balance of the night.

    Where were the tight ends, even attempts to throw their way? Where was Boyd, the supposed No. 2 receiver? It looks like he came to play, with a mindset to win (hey, the kid is certainly used to it) and wasn’t intimidated in the least. Chryst had said leading up to the game that Boyd likes the big stage and will get his chances. Saw too many shots of Boyd off stage (sidelines) rather than center stage.

    • To pick up on DK’s point, you would have thought headed in that Winston was the kid they were going to keep the wraps on with a more conservative game plan given that Savage had about a year and a half of starter experience.

      Empty backfield set on FSU’s first play from scrimmage? “Heavy package” goal line set and Winston then throwing to their tight end? So much for that thought.

      DK: Really good stuff today, DJ.

      • Thanks, DK. You took me to task on your podcast last week concerning a comment I had made about Walker. I don’t follow Twitter so my comment had nothing to do with what might be happening in that world, so perhaps I should not have commented at all. In any case, it provided some fodder for you, I had a good laugh (broad shoulders) and I’m no worse off for the drubbing.

        I’ve said in the past that I really enjoy your fine work so keep doing what you do.

        DK: Thanks. Honestly don’t recall taking anyone “to task” on the show. Might have had a spirited response to a topic, but certainly not aimed at someone participating on the show.

        • Your comment was concerning a blog post I had made here and was in the spirit of “some genius said . . .” It was prompted by me offering a poorly placed blog comment about Walker unrelated to a Twitter frenzy I knew nothing about. In any case, I had a good laugh (particularly you biting off the “genius” part — ha!) and learned to steer clear of anything having to do with Twitter.

      • Winston is an ultra-elite talent. If anyone caught the QB camp show on ESPN from a couple of year ago, he was the most gifted QB in the country in his class. Chad Voytik, BTW, was also targeted by Trent Dilfer as being a top notch recruit. I think that will be the case in the next few years.

        My take last night was that Chryst knows what he is doing on offense. He just does not have the horses right now to execute at a high enough level to play with FSU. Defensively, I am less certain about Pitt. They looked like they just wanted to hold FSU under 50 points, and were willing to give up 10 yards on every pass.

        • Winston reminded me of Byron Leftwich with his size and arm strength. That said, I did not have the impression he was terribly mobile. Certainly, in assessing his talents, that was the area where he was the most vulnerable. So after a couple series, Chryst should have adjusted the game plan to put much more pressure on Winston — from multiple angles — particularly since he was completing everything anyway. They seemed too locked into what was not working. What did they have to lose there? They would not have won, but it would have been more of a contest. Better to go down swinging rather that passively, to set a temperament for your players for the balance of this season.

  17. The beautiful thing here is we are debating 81, 82, 83 and so on. Folks it’s been 20 loooooong years.

  18. Hoka Hey everyone!

    Pirates win! Pirates win!! LXXX down and only II to go .

    Just Amezega. ;-)

    Yes….Pirates management and front office, it DOES MATTER ….to too many fans that have been along for the ride all of these years.
    .
    Beat Em Bucs

    • Let’s hope that the PITT PANTHERS football doesn’t take 20 years to turn this ship around….it looked bad, last night. Disappointed…..not surprised.

  19. One minute, Petey plays like Brooks Robinson; the next, Brooke Shields (all apologies to Brooke).

  20. The Pirates are 80-57. They would need to go 0-25 the rest of the way to finish with a losing record.

    If they go 1-24, they finish with a record of 81-81. It may very well be mathematically impossible for them to need to play a 163rd game if they end up at 81-81. No way they even get to a tiebreaker if they collapse that badly. Doesn’t matter, anyway. They will be far above .500.

  21. I have said all season that this team was different and better than the last 19. I said that this organization is now different, that it actually knows what the heck it is doing. I predicted 85-77 at the start of the season, and I am thrilled to say they will soar past that prediction. I guess I wasn’t optimistic enough.

    I have also said that, to me, 82 wins was just a mile marker of sorts once the team got rolling. It was something important to note, but not the real goal this year. But, I only speak for myself on that. I realize to some people 82 is everything this year. They just want our long national nightmare to end. I totally get that, and I respect that completely. For awhile this year, that was my focus as well. But, my sights changed around the start of June.

    One thing I know for sure, though, whether 82 wins was the most important thing to you or not this year, we can all say that once 82 is accomplished there is still more out there after 82 for this team to accomplish this season. And, I believe there is a lot to look forward to from this organization in the years ahead. To me, that was most important. I wanted the streak ended, of course. But, I also wanted to know that the organization had figured things out, and that it had planned well for the future to have an opportunity to sustain the winning. I believe that to be the case, but I know not everyone is quite there yet, and that is perfectly fine. It takes a lot to erase 20 years of blunders, screw-ups and failures.

  22. Pitt got steamrolled by one of the top teams in the ACC. No adjustments were going to change that.

    FSU’s secondary is one of the best in college football. The fact Savage had some success against them should be very encouraging for Pitt fans.

    Other than Winston’s performance, FSU played pretty sloppy. This one could’ve been a lot worse.

  23. Very different circumstances this time around, but September call-ups still provide some interesting and if nothing else fresh baseball starting this week.

    Anybody stand out above the rest for you guys? Not necessarily the “best” player(s), but ones you are excited to see or think will make an impact.

    Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Stolmy Pimentel for the first time. Also should be fun to see how the Reds will use speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton.

    • Hey, look, he’s alive :)

    • I actually was hoping Stolmy would start last Sunday vs. St. Louis. But, I understand why they went with Johnson.

      Billy Hamilton has struggled this season. The old saying of “You can’t steal first base” has plagued him. I think his OB% has been sub-.300. But, it has been better in the past and he’ll get it straightened out. The Reds are close to last in the league in SB, so I’m not sure Dusty will even know how to deploy the weapon of Hamilton as a SB threat, NMR. But, if they do figure out how to use him properly, he could be a problem for us in those 6 games.

      • I figured he would just pinch run late in games.

        • That’s all I expect as well.

          I’m no huge fan of Dusty, but look at the players he was given. The reason the Reds are last in SB has more to do with the GM than the Manager. If Dusty puts Hamilton in the game, I’m guessing everyone in the ballpark will know what he’s there to do.

          And if I’m a Reds fan, I’m not very confident Hamilton will ever hit enough to make an impact. I’ve only seen him on video, but from the left side it looks like you could knock the bat out of his hands with a strong fastball. Kid is that weak. Advanced AAA pitchers just realized that it makes zero sense to throw him anything out of the zone, which is why the walk rate plummeted. ML pitchers are going to bust him inside until he proves he can hurt them.

          • I agree with that, NMR. This year has put up a big red flag on the people touting his future stardom. There is still time for him to adapt and grow, but I would not count on him being a very good hitter.

        • I think that will mostly be the case, 21. But, they may give him a couple of starts in LF. It is not as though Ludwick can’t be sat for a game or two.

          • Do you think they’d keep Choo in center in that case, Jim?

            Hamilton would seem to be a huge defensive upgrade over him.

            • I think Choo will be allowed to walk. He will want a lot of $$. But, that will be an interesting decision. I never thought he was a CF. I believe he hurts them defensively in CF. My guess is they will try to get Hamilton some starts down the stretch, and if he hits well they will keep running him out with an eye toward CF next season. Considering Ludwick is another of their OF, that is not good news for them next season. They may need to come up with 2 new guys, or pay through the nose to keep Choo. I suppose they could put Hamilton in CF next year and re-sign Choo for LF.

              • GABP will surely help, but the Reds are basically counting on a 36 yo Ryan Ludwick to maintain his breakout power from last year.

                Otherwise, paying almost $8m for a singles hitter who can’t run or play defense seems like a huge waste.

                Almost as much as spending $13m on two middle relievers in Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall.

              • The Reds have been very good for a few years now. They had a great talent infusion for several years about 3-5 years ago. But, I think there was a reason St. Louis allowed Jockety to get away.

    • I’m looking forward to having Starling Marte back. Although Tabata has well exceeded my expectations as a leadoff hitter… it would be nice to get that ball hawking cannon-fire arm back in left.

      • Great call, Kevin!

        I really don’t know what to expect from Starling at the plate coming off this extended layoff, but it will be nice to get some speed back on the field.

        • So true. I came to town for the St. Louis games on Friday and Sat, and it was startling to me (once again) how many balls easily dropped in the RC and LC gaps vs. that Cards OF defense. Must have been about 4 over the 2 nights that the Bucs would catch with Marte in the lineup. Even with Starling out, though, the Bucs OF ran down several balls. Tabata does ok out there, but then there’s Starling.

          We have said it before, but when Polanco gets here … wow! Could be the best OF defense in MLB in a long, long time.

  24. Pirates are in 1st place on September 3rd. I just keep saying it hoping it will somehow sink in… when was the last time the pirates were in 1st place in September?

  25. What a great start to the Pitt game last night!

    March right down the field, then held FSU, then start marching down the field again. Then, an interception, and FSU woke up. Pitt was simply outmanned the rest of the way, no shame in that. But for the first time in years, there is hope for the future of the program………… you could just see it last night. Street, Boyd, Conner, they will all be great this year, and need more touches. And, Savage is 1000% better than Tino.

    As to DK’s analysis on offense, I agree with him. on DK’s analysis on defense, I cant agree.

    Pitt’s CB’s had to play off Florida State’s receivers….. if they didnt, they would have blown right past them for easy scores. I was disappointed that FSU receivers found so many open holes all night, but press coverage would have been a disaster.

    Specifically for the call to blitz more, Pitt does not have the athletes to do that. Every time Winston was blitzed last night, one of 3 things happened………………. 1) it was picked up easily, 2) it was too slow, or 3) Winston just moved up in the pocket, and either ran free or threw the ball all over the field. Not blitzing didnt cause Pitt to Lose last night, Pits inability to tackle, or stop 3rd down conversions caused Pitt to lose last night. Blitzing (with the quality of athlete Pitt has) would have resulted in an even more lopsided score.

    On a positive note, you can just tell Chryst is on the right path. Unfortunately, it is going to take at least 1-2 more years for him to see results. Just think what last night would have looked like if Shell was at RB……………. but it is a good thing for the program that Chryst has taken a stand against miscreants.

    Just my one cent…………………..
    (thanks for the shoutout earlier, Lad).

  26. I know the Buccos called up Kyle Farnsworth, Kris Johnson, and Travis snider. Did we call up anyone for our last two open spots for September.

  27. On an entirely different note, see the following story from today’s Altoona Mirror — class act by Jason Grilli. http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/574475/Bucs–pitcher-wows-fans.html?nav=742

  28. As to the great “80, 81, 82″ debate……………………….

    The beginning of the year, I predicted 80 wins for this season. that will be obliterated. But 81 means absolutely nothing. And 82? I will breathe a sigh of relief, but I will NOT celebrate that number. With the way the team is playing, I want to see 93-94 wins. THAT will be worth celebrating.

    And the day Presley makes it to the Hall of Fame, I will celebrate that too. ;)

  29. Hello All, listened to the Bucs on Sirius yesterday – getting the Brewers radio broadcast – and I’m coming to the conclusion that calling a game on radio is becoming a lost art. There were at least six occasions when I could not understand what the he!! was going on based on the descriptions, or lack of them. I’ve found the same annoying thing with Pirate broadcasts, to a lesser extent.

    Maybe these guys are so video oriented today that they subconsciously think we automatically can see what they’re seeing.

  30. Danny Kanell on Winston’s record breaking performance last night, “”granted, it was against Pitt”.

    • Unfortunately, Pitt has “earned” this.
      With the great and all-knowing Steve Pederson calling the shots (see coaching hire disasters 1-4), this type of stuff will have to be eradicated thru winning. Until then, it is open season on Pitt athletics.

      Still pi$$es me off…………………

    • That’s what opponents who intercepted multiple passes against Danny Kannell often said. “Well, it felt like we played well today. Granted, it was against Danny Kannell.” If ever there was a “take it with a grain of salt” QB, it was him.

  31. Jason Grilli‏@GrillCheese493h
    Sitting with @Tony26Montana at airport. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T9hSpijwWCY&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DT9hSpijwWCY …. Yes we are!

  32. DK: Agree emphatically that 81 means nothing… hoping that the announcers tonight (and yes, hoping it is TONIGHT that we get 81 vs. Gallardo) don’t make a big deal of getting 81…. I’ll be ok TOMORROW (and yes hope it is tomorrow) if they acknowledge 82 in some way, again not too celebratory, but it definitely should be noted.

    I think Hurdle says it best… when he joined the team in 2011, there were a lot of things “on the list” to check off in terms of goals/accomplishments. No doubt ’82′ is on that list. As was ‘winning on the road’ (the 2010 team won 17, yes 17, games on the road)… as was ‘win games vs the AL’, as was ‘improve vs. the running game’…. as was ‘beat the Brewers’ …as was ‘win in Miller Park’… and any number of other smaller accomplishments.

    CH, NH and others in the management team have been pretty consistent in saying the goal is ‘consistently competing for championships’… that is about right, as I see it… the rest of this stuff is interesting but the main objective is winning a championship.

    DK: Third or fourth time for this, but my point was entirely mathematical and not at all philosophical.

    • Like the idea of a low key acknowledgement, cmat. Maybe by Hurdle more than the players. If I was one of them, my attitude would be that this 20+ year bad streak has nothing to do with me – and we plan on being winners for the long haul with bigger fish to fry.

  33. Dejan, in case you missed it, one of your favs, Teemu, is coming back:

  34. Gerrit Cole is due for a win. If not for Locke, Cole would got a lot more attention as someone who overperformed in his first several starts and has dropped off a bit lately. Agree?

  35. I gotta get some heavy paperwork done. Maybe catch Yinz in the game thread tonight.
    Have a grand afternoon :)

  36. I’m sure others have said this but don’t have time to check.

    Here goes.

    I don’t know what to make of pitt. Sure, they were popped in the mouth. By a VERY good team. Does that make pitt terrible? Maybe they are; maybe they’re not.

    I can guess but that’s all it will be.

    Now that they won’t be playing a Titan, it will be interesting to see how the team does against less intimidating foes.

  37. Maybe you’ve all seen this before, but it’s a cute interview with Cutch about his talent for drawing and his hope to go to art school someday.

  38. I wasn’t on the blog yesterday while the game was going on, but I just looked at some of the comments over lunch today. I have to give a random shout out to Baywatch, or should I say “Carnak the Magnificent.”

    Baywatch made a comment just before the game yesterday that he was glad to see Tabby back in the leadoff spot, and also glad to see Barmes in the lineup. He then said something about hoping that combo would bring good results.

    Well, Barmes had a single and double, and Tabby drove him in each time for the Bucs first 2 runs. Tabby had another hit in the game as well. Well done, Bay!

    Please make sure to scan tonight’s lineup and predict good things for random Bucs’ players again.

  39. I hope the powers that be (CH, RS and NH) are thinking about:
    If the Bucs beat Gallardo tonight, start someone other than Liriano tomorrow, saving him for Friday in the first of the three against St. Louis. It gives him two more days of rest. Peralta (8-14) is scheduled to start for the Brewers tomorrow, so the opposing starter is not as dangerous at Gallardo tonight. Also, our three starting pitchers (Liriano, A.J. and Morton) for the Cardinals series are the strongest we have at present. The reason for such a switch in the schedule is the math: a win against St. Louis is twice as valuable as a win against the Brewers and the shift gives us a better chance to win the first game.

    • I like that idea War. Can you say Pimentel? The Bucs should be giving spot starts to some of the new pitchers and maybe Jeanmar since there’s now more bullpen depth. So why not do it to set the rotation against the Cards and Reds? Seems like the best reason of all, plus a little rest for everyone.

  40. I wondered about that as well, War. I can see logic on both sides. But, my guess is they won’t do that.

  41. Someone on this blog told me that we will not get a draft pick when Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau. Can anyone verify that is correct?

    • That’s right Dom. The new CBA from a couple years ago eliminated compensation picks for “rental” players. Their old team would have received a pick if they had kept them and made the qualifying offer. But not their new team.

      • Thanks. You almost wonder why the Twins didn’t keep Morneau if they were probably going to obtain a 1st round pick.

        • Because the qualifying offer is somewhere between 10-13 million I think. They may feel as if those players are not worth that much of an investment. The player could always except the offer and then you have to pay them.

          • That and he may be willing to come back and resign with the Twins, but its doubtful, they need to be able to move Joe Mauer to first base

          • Also in Byrd’s case we gave up some good prospects that could be worth more then a #1 pick. Herrera cost the Mets nothing and probably is already in their top 7 or 8 prospects and Black can be used already next year in their bullpen at league minimum.

        • Is he still worth a #1 pick, Dom?

  42. If we would happen to win the next two games, not only would we be in first place when the streak ends, it would happen in Milwaukee.

    I’d kinda like to see that happen.

  43. Who do you all recommend me going with in my NFL pickem league?

    The top choices are the pats over the bills, the seahawks over the panthers, or Washington over the eagles.

  44. By the way, my “Buggles” moment occurred above, just a minute ago. “Avatars killed the Snowmen stars.”

    Proud moment indeed for the unveiling of my childhood idol as my avatar.

  45. As a lifelong FSU fan, I can tell you that the dude playing QB for us is like nothing I’ve ever seen, so maybe give Pitt a pass on being overly critical. As a non objective observer, I thought Pitt looked “OK”. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had these highly recruited QBs and they can’t hit a ten yard pass to save their life. You’re in between a rock and a hard place if you’re Pitt…pressure the QB and running backs go bananas or receivers are more wide open than they were. You never know what you’re gonna get with a first time starter, but they found out right off the bat that “pressure” wasn’t the right option. So, they just went into the old “bend don’t break” defense and Famous Jameis hit pass after pass after pass after pass……after pass.

    I thought Pitt’s QB looked pretty solid, and has some pretty good high side.

    Oh yeah, GO PIRATES!!

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